• Elzbieta Matynia

    Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, Director of Transregional Center for Democratic Studies

    Office Location:

    Albert and Vera List Academic Center


    Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies. Her research in political and cultural sociology focuses on democratic transformations, gender and democracy, the borderlands of a shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. As director of TCDS, she has developed and directs international Democracy & Diversity Institutes for rigorous study and cross-cultural research on the critical issues facing today’s world. Her book Performative Democracy (2009, Paradigm), explores a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens. Challenges following 1989 are explored in her  An Uncanny Era. Conversations between Adam Michnik and Vaclav Havel. (2013 Yale University Press). A Fulbright research scholar in South Africa, she is working on a new book, Democracy After Violence. Elzbieta is a member of the editorial board of Social Research.

    Degrees Held:

    PhD 1979, University of Warsaw

    Recent Publications:


    Havel-Michnik: The Uncanny Era of Post-revolution. Conversations over a Quarter of a Century, Yale University Press, 2014

    Performative Democracy, Yale Cultural Sociology Series, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2009

    Demokracja Performatywna, Wroclaw: Wydawnicwo DSW, 2008

    The Social Science in Transition: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe, in a series Mapping Human Capital Needs Globally, Social Science Research Council, New York, 2003

    Grappling with Democracy: Deliberations on Post-Communist Societies, 1990-1995, SLON, Prague, 1995

    Book Chapters

    An Old Bridge and a new Agora; and Between the Local and the Global; two chapters in A Handbook of Dialogue:Trust and Identity, Brussels-Sejny 2011

    Feminism between the Local and the Global: a Task of Translation, in the volume Women’s Movements in Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms, Amrita Basu (ed.), Boulder: Westview Press, 2010

    Liberalism for Our Times, Introduction to a book by Ira Katznelson, Liberalism Crooked Circle: Letters to Adam Michnik, Wydawnicwo DSW: Wroclaw, 2006

    A democracia szazadgvegi berendezkedese, avagy a lengyel kerakasztal (Negotiating Democracy in Poland) in a book A Rendszervaltas Forgatokoyve 1989 (The Scenarios of the Regime Changes of 1989), ed. Hetedik Kotet, Uj Mandatum Konyvkiado, Budapest 2000 (in Hungarian)

    Finding a Voice: Women in Post-Communist Societies of Central Europe, chapter in The Challenge of Local Feminisms: Women`s Movements in Global Perspective, ed. Amrita Basu, Boulder: Westview Press, 1995.

    Edited Volumes

    1989 and Beyond: The Future of Democratic Politics, (the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Springer, Fall 2009; Winter 2009)

    Civil Society, guest editor of the special volume of Social Research, International Quarterly of the Social Sciences, vol.68, no.4. Winter 2001


    “W Obronie Amerykanskiego Marzenia –OWS” (“In defense of American Dream – OWS”), Res Publica Nowa, (Warsaw), No 209/2012

    “The Promise of Borderlands,” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, (January 2011)

    “Between the Local and the Global: or, What Wroclaw Has Given Us," Polish Theatre Perspectives: International Theater Journal (December 2010)

    “1989 and the Politics of Democratic Performativity,” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Springer, Fall 2009

    “Poland Provoked: How Women Artists En-Gendered Democracy,” Current History. A Journal of Contemporary World Affairs, March 2006

    “Feminist Art and Democratic Culture,” Performance Art Journal, PAJ 79, (Winter 2005).

    “Provincializing Global Feminism”, Social Research, Summer 2003

    “Armando la democracia a finales de siglo. La Mesa polaca y otras mesas”, Encuentro, no. 25, 2002, (Madrid, Spain)

    “Furnishing Democracy at the end of the Century: Negotiating Transition at the Polish Round Table & Others”, Eastern European Politics and Society, Winter 2001; vol.15/2

    “The Lost Treasure of Solidarity”, Social Research, Winter, 2001; vol. 68, no.4

    “Women after Communism: A Bitter Freedom”, Social Research, Summer, 1994 (Vol.61, No.2), pp. 351-379.

    Research Interests:

    Research in political and cultural sociology focusing on democratic transitions in Eastern Europe and beyond and on the concept and phenomenon of the borderlands in the emerging “shared Europe”. A more recent interest concerns the relationship between social misconceptions about other peoples and violent conflicts.

    Awards And Honors:

    Wroclaw Medal of Honor, 2018

    Current Courses:

    Romancing Violence

    Independent Study

    We the People: Nationalism

    Romancing Violence

    Politics of Public Memory

    The Time is Out of Joint

    Independent Study

    Independent Study

    Ind Senior Project